Should dogs and lizards live together?

Even though lizards and dogs are different species, they can successfully live together.

If you’ve ever introduced a new puppy or kitten to your dog, you know there are certain steps you should follow. You have to give ample time for the animals to get to know one another and make sure that neither animal feels neglected.

What happens, however, if you want to introduce a lizard into your household? You might think that because the lizard lives within a terrarium, your dog won’t care about it.

Most dogs, however, are aware of when any type of new animal enters their home. Not introducing your lizard and dog could cause unnecessary stress for both animals.

Can lizards and dogs live together?

Even though lizards and dogs are different species, they can successfully live together. How well they’ll get along will ultimately depend on the temperaments of the animals. You’ll also want to avoid your dog from getting too close to the lizard because lizards carry bacteria that can harm dogs.

Some species of lizards, such as the iguana, can be aggressive. If your dog is the type to sniff or poke at other animals, don’t get an aggressive lizard. You’ll also want to avoid getting a lizard if your dog typically barks or growls at other animals.

What training does my dog need?

Some basic training before the lizard moves in can help make the transition easier. Ideally, your dog will already know how to sit, stay, and stop barking. If your dog does start barking or lunging at the tank, these basic commands can help keep both the dog and the lizard safe.

These basic commands can also help keep your dog safe if the lizard ever gets out. You don’t want your dog to lick or eat the lizard.

How to introduce a dog and a lizard?

If you move forward with getting a lizard, watch how your dog acts when the lizard is brought into the house. The lizard should be brought into the house in an enclosure. A curious dog will want to sniff at the enclosure. This is normal. Let your dog sniff at the tank. After a sniff, the dog might decide to ignore the lizard. This is a good sign.

Other dogs might continuously bark or whine at the tank. This is a sign that your dog might struggle to adjust to life with a lizard. Reprimand your dog for barking and carefully watch their interactions.

Where should I put the enclosure?

Once you’ve introduced the lizard to your dog, find a spot in your home that your dog isn’t territorial of. For example, if your dog spends time in the living room, you’ll want to avoid putting the enclosure there. If you have a bedroom that your dog doesn’t go into, put the enclosure in there on a high ledge.

Putting the enclosure right next to your dog’s bed will only lead to problems. If the dog feels threatened by the lizard or feels like they’re losing their space within the house, the dog will act aggressively towards the lizard.

Can I let my lizard walk around?

Certain types of lizards enjoy spending time out of their enclosures. For example, the bearded dragon loves to spend time interacting with people and can also go for walks in the yard. While there is nothing wrong with letting your lizard walk around, you’re going to want to be careful that your dog doesn’t eat or lick your lizard.

Your dog might be very curious during the first walk. Never leave your dog alone with the lizard while your lizard is walking around. If your dog starts to nudge or lick the lizard, command your dog to stop and pick up the lizard.

What if my dog eats the lizard?

A small, slow lizard might seem like an appealing snack for some dogs. If your dog does somehow manage to lick or eat your lizard, keep a close eye on your dog. While not all lizards are poisonous to dogs, they do carry bacteria that can make dogs sick. The most common type of bacteria that lizards carry is salmonella.

Some dogs eat lizards and never get sick, while others get extremely sick. If your dog starts vomiting, having diarrhea, or acting lethargic after tasting a lizard, contact your vet immediately.

Final thoughts

Plenty of pet owners own lizards and dogs without problems. While they might never be best buddies, they can co-exist as long as neither the dog or lizard are aggressive.

If you do have an aggressive lizard or dog, find ways to keep them apart. Keeping the lizard where the dog can’t see it can help.

And if you do regularly let the lizard out to walk around the house, make sure that the dog doesn’t get the opportunity to eat or lick the lizard.

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